Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in the New Year

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be-kind-everyone-you-meet-fighting-hard-battle-whoisplatoThe old year is put to bed, and the New Year is still waking up and getting started. As you rise up with it, consider some ways to make this year a little happier for you and those around you. You can make a difference in the lives of the people you come into contact with with only a small amount of effort. Here are five ways you can be a good neighbor this year. Can you suggest more?

1) Seek First to Understand: By now we’ve all seen the Internet memes out there with Plato’s quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard (or harder) battle.” Next time you encounter someone who seems like he or she is about to bite your head off, consider the person might be having a really bad day, or is going through a painful time. If it’s someone in a store or on the road, let them pass and silently wish them well. If it’s a friend, co-worker or family member, save the tart response and ask a few questions. Hey, are you having a bad day? What’s up?

2) Schedule in Chance Conversations: Years ago my neighbors told me it always looked like I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I [Read more…]

Carter Work Project Day 5: Getting Busy Building Community

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habitat-for-humanity-carter-work-project-volunteersIf I had to boil my five days of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity’s 2013 Carter Work Project (CWP) in San Jose, it would come to this: good people can make a difference in their communities, even in the face of overwhelming problems.

All week long I couldn’t help contrasting what was happening at the national level with what was happening right in my own backyard of Silicon Valley with CWP. The government was shut down, seemingly mired in an impossible conflict, yet all of us working on CWP were getting something truly good done in our communities. Groups like Habitat are tackling huge issues like affordable housing, and make a real impact. Of course Habitat couldn’t do what it does without partnering with municipalities and governmental agencies, but it’s not chained to a political process that sometimes leaves the most vulnerable in the dust.

Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, nearly 30 families in Oakland and San Jose were helped in very valuable ways. Work on a dozen new homes in Oakland progressed, renovation work on two homes in San Jose came closer to completion, and about 15 homes got things like new roofs, energy-efficient windows, new insulation, siding, and numerous repairs both small and large.  [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in July

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be-a-good-neighbor-in-july-happy-fourth-of-july-good-neighbor-storiesCelebrate America’s birthday by being a good citizen during July! Here are five ways you can exercise your citizenship in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1. ‘Party On’ This Fourth: Spend some time getting to know others in your community by joining in on local celebrations. Every city has events to bring its residents together on the Fourth of July, sometimes all day, with pancake breakfasts, parades, festivals, and of course, fireworks once the sun sets. Check out the list on Kidmatter.com for events all over the Bay Area. Want to stay home? Consider inviting your neighbors over for a barbecue. Start planning a block party together for later in the summer—you can use our guide to how to plan a great block party!

2. Get to Know Japanese Buddhist Neighbors: July and August are Obon season for Japanese Buddhists, a time to honor ancestors with feasts, dancing, and memorial services. Two South Bay Buddhist temples and one in Berkeley are hosting festivals for the entire [Read more…]

Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor in May

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Every month we give you five ways to be a good neighbor. Consider them little nudges to break out of your routine and think and act positively outward toward the community around you. We love to hear your suggestions of how you’re being a good neighbor, so please leave a comment or contact us.

Here are five suggestions for May, 2012.

1. Ride a Bike!: May is National Bike Month; to celebrate there are events around the Bay Area and nationally to get more people out of their cars. Nationally, Bike to Work Week is happening May 14-18, culminating with National Bike to Work Day on the 18th. The inaugural National Bike to School Day is May 9, according to The League of American Cyclists. In San Francisco and other Bay Area communities the 18th annual Bike to Work Day is Thursday, May 10. Bicyclist organizations all over the region are planning events that day, like special energizer stations along commuting routes. Consider joining in on the fun that day as a way to improve your health, the planet’s health, and interact with others in the community. You can also form a team of up to five people for the Team Bike Challenge or Company Bike Challenge, and rack up miles all month to earn points and potentially win prizes.

2. Be Kind to Animals: May 6-12 is Be Kind to Animals Week. The East Bay SPCA is sponsoring a photo contest for photos of “Kind Kids” posing with animals. The Humane Society of Silicon Valley is conducting a class on how to raise orphan kittens on Monday, May 7 (reservations required). They also have a class on Thursday, May 10,  “Helping Homeless Cats and Your Community”, for people who want to find out more about how to help homeless kitties. [Read more…]

30 Ways To Be A Good Neighbor This Holiday Season – Part 2

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In our first installment we listed 10 ways to be a good neighbor during the holidays in your own neighborhood. Today we’re reposting 10 ways to be a good neighbor in your larger community. FromFood Donation Barrel food drives to holiday recycling, you can make a difference to others in your city.

What are some ways you are making a difference? Share with us in the comments!